Quality of life after treatment of neuroendocrine liver metastasis

Gaya Spolverato, Fabio Bagante, Doris Wagner, Stefan Buettner, Rohan Gupta, Yuhree Kim, Hadia Maqsood, Timothy M. Pawlik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background A large subset of patients with neuroendocrine liver metastasis (NELM) is symptomatic at the time of presentation. In addition to improving survival, treatment of NELM seeks to provide palliation of symptoms. However, data on health-related quality of life (QoL) are uncommon. We sought to define patient-reported QoL after treatment of NELM. Methods Patients who underwent treatment of NELM at Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1998 and 2013 and who were alive as of March 2014 were identified (n = 125). These patients were invited to complete a QoL survey designed using validated assessment tools, to assess their physical, mental, and general health before treatment, after the most recent treatment and at the time of the study. Clinicopathologic data were collected and correlated with QoL data. Results The response rate was 68.0% (n = 85). Median patient age was 55 y and most were male (59.2%). Most patients had a pancreatic (24.7%) or a small bowel (37.7%) primary tumor; the overwhelming majority had multiple NELM (83.5%). Patient-reported symptoms before any treatment included diarrhea (41.1%), flushing (34.1%), fatigue (36.5%), and osteoarticular pain (18.8%). Initial treatment of NELM consisted of surgery in 55 patients (64.7%) and nonsurgical treatment in 30 patients (35.3%). Many patients reported an overall improvement in physical health and mental health. Specifically, the proportion of patients reporting diarrhea (before any treatment, 41.1% versus currently, 25.9%; P = 0.019) and flushing (before any treatment, 34.1% versus currently, 10.5%; P <0.001) tended to decrease over time and a lower proportion of patients reported to be currently sad about being ill (before any treatment, 31.8% versus currently, 23.2%; P = 0.009). Patients with a very poor QoL at the time of the diagnosis were more likely to experience an improvement in QoL after treatment. Interestingly, there was no difference in the improvement in overall QoL whether the initial treatment for NELM was surgical or nonsurgical; however, a lower proportion of patients were dissatisfied with surgery versus nonsurgical therapy (5.4% versus 9.4%; P = 0.001). Conclusions Less than one-fourth of patients experienced a significant improvement in QoL after treatment of NELM. The patients who benefit the most of treatment were those who were more symptomatic before any treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • NELM
  • QoL
  • Surgery
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Quality of life after treatment of neuroendocrine liver metastasis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this